Papa Cork, the benign spirit of New Year's Eve.
Why is the far side of the Moon more crater-pocked than the side we see? Wrong answer: because the Earth shields the Moon from hits from the Earth-facing direction. Right answer: because the crust of the Moon is thinner on the near side than the far, so volcanic lava more easily erupted and covered lots of Earth-facing craters back in the day.
That answer prompts (it does not "beg") the question, "Why is the Moon's crust thinner on the Earth-facing side than the other side?" For the answer to that one, ask not The Colonel, but "The Doctor." ("Who?")
Three riddles with answers, to start the New Year on a stable foundation:
What's hard to beat?
When I point up, it's light. When I point down, it's dark. What am I?
What starts with an "e" and ends with an "e" but contains just one letter?
Just kidding about giving answers. Let your New Year start with mystery and uncertainty.
Just kidding about just kidding. The answers are: a broken drum; a lightswitch, and "envelope."
"OC-DC": obsessively bisexual.
Best pie chart ever:
Classics rewritten: "'Call me, Ishmael.' She wrote her number on a paper bar napkin, slid it over next to my Tom Collins, and walked out of the joint in a way that could make anarchists wear uniforms."
Fervent wish for the New Year: no "Deuce Ventura" spinoffs.
A new cliche to give an old one a rest: "The cookies you bake, you eat."
Warning or dare? "If you have a mind to write a screenplay of 'Gravity's Rainbow,' go ahead, but you won't have a mind by the end of it." --Anthony Lane
The most practical form of forgiveness is accepting apologies not offered. Forgiveness helps the giver more than the receiver.
"When your wife says, 'Is that what you're wearing?' as you head out, it's not really a question." --Jim Shea
"U.S. farm policy can be understood but not believed." --P.J. O'Rourke
Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff. He could have done worse.
"Hello, gentlemen. All your base are belong to us."
Little Jack Horner sat in the corner. Dead.
"South America is a dagger pointed at the heart of Antarctica."
"For all sad words of tongue we fear, the saddest are these, 'There's no more beer.'" --apologies to John Greenleaf Whittier ("There may be better poets, but just one Whittier")
"Organizational meeting of anarchists ends in chaos. Details at ten."
"It's been so long since we had any big compromises that we've forgotten how unappetizing they look." --Gail Collins
Otto von Bismarck said there was a "special providence for drunkards, fools, and the United States of America." From his cold, dead lips to God's ears.
January and February were the last months of the year to get names.
"The ground of liberty is to be gained by inches." --Thomas Jefferson. Meaning no disrespect, sir, but freedom can sometimes throw and complete long passes. For all your faults, sir, we think you threw one. Thank you.
Who you are is what's left after you've told all your lies.
"A fool must now and then be right by chance." --William Cowper, d. 1800.
Speaking of Cowper:
GOD moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform:
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
--"Light Shining Out of Darkness," Olney Hymns, 1779
Everyone's a fool for at least five minutes a day. Some say wisdom consists of not exceeding that limit. That bar's too high. Count a person wise who for five minutes a day is not a fool. By that latitudinarian definition, wise folk are still rare.
"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with [bunk]." --W.C. Fields
The first Social Security number in history was assigned to John David Sweeney, Jr. of New Rochelle, NY. New Rochelle was founded by French Huguenots long before Social Security.
Mathematics is as singular as Appomattox.
Etymology is not destiny. Words mean what they mean, regardless of what their ancestors meant.
A chara, Nodlaig mhaith dhuit agus rath agus siothchain san aith-bhliadhain. --Eamonn de Valera